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THE HAPPY LIFE OF A COUNTRY PARSON.
He that has these, may pass his life,
Toast Church and Queen, explain the News,
And shake his head at Doctor S-t.
"SWIFT," fays Hume," has more humour than knowledge, more taste than judgement, and more spleen, prejudice, and paffion, than any of thofe qualities." Difcourfe v.
At the hazard of an imputation of partiality to the author, I venture to say, that I prefer a poem, called The Progress of Difcontent, to any imitation of Swift, that ever has yet appeared. I fhall just add, that the Baucis and Philemon of La Fontaine far excells that of Swift.
ROBERT EARL OF OXFORD, AND EARL OF MORTIMER.
Epifle to Robert Earl of Oxford.] This Epiftle was sent to the Earl of Oxford with Dr. Parnelle's Poems published by our Author, after the faid Earl's imprisonment in the Tower, and retreat into the country, in the Year 1721. P.
VER. 1. Such were the notes] The notes were charming indeed! We have few pieces of Poetry fuperior to Parnelle's Rife of Woman; the Fairy Tale; the Hymn to Contentment; Health, an Eclogue; the Vigil of Venus; the Night-piece on Death; the Allegory on Man; and the Hermit; of which Johnfon fpeaks too contemptuously. The beft account of the original of this laft exquifite poem is given in the third volume of the History of English Poetry, p. 31.; from whence it appears that it was taken from the eightieth chapter of that curious repofitory of ancient tales, the Gefta Romanorum. The ftory is related in the fourth volume of Howel's Letters, who says he found it in Sir Philip Herbert's Conceptions; but this fine Apologue was much better related in the Divine Dialogues of Dr. Henry More, Dial. ii. part 1.; and Parnelle feems to have copied it chiefly from this Platonic Theologift, who had not lefs imagination than learning. Pope VOL. II.